Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The aims of this study were: (1) to determine the within-subject, between-day variability in end-tidal P(CO2) (P(ET,CO2)); (2) to determine whether the within-subject, between-day variability in P(ET,CO2) was caused by variations in metabolic acid-base status; and (3) to determine whether between-subject variations in blood gas variables arose predominantly through variations in respiratory or renal pH control mechanisms. Fourteen healthy males were studied, of whom 12 provided adequate data for further analysis. Each subject was studied on at least six different occasions, with each visit separated by at least 1 week. On each occasion, P(ET,CO2) was determined over a 4-10 min period using a fine nasal catheter taped just inside the nose, and an arterialised capillary blood sample was obtained from each ear and analysed for blood gases. The following results were obtained. (1) P(ET,CO2) showed a standard deviation (S.D.) for the within-subject, between-day variation of 1.06 mmHg. (2) Less than 5% (P = NS) of the variability in P(ET,CO2) could be explained by underlying variations in metabolic acid-base status. (3) The variation in blood gas values between individuals did not fit a pattern associated with either a predominantly respiratory or a predominantly renal origin. Furthermore, the pattern of variation in the blood gas data suggested that variations in the renal controller for pH and the respiratory controller for pH were not independent. The precise origins of variability in blood gas regulation remain obscure.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Physiol

Publication Date





603 - 610


Adaptation, Physiological, Adult, Blood Gas Monitoring, Transcutaneous, Carbon Dioxide, Humans, Male, Pulmonary Gas Exchange, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity, Tidal Volume